POSTED ON MAY 20, 2009:
Racetrack grill equipped with hot comfort food and dozens of TVs
Less is More. Hairs said that they have a basic grill menu, describing it as more on the "comfort food" style--saying it is a limited menu, but doing well what they do.
It may not be the first place you think of for watching the Big Game, but this recently renovated sports bar and grill is now a viable contender. People have been coming to Fair Meadows for a number of years for live horse racing; and now with the opening of the Sports Grill, there's even more reason to visit Expo Square.
"I think it's an exciting place. There's lots going on here," said Bernard Hairs, Fair Meadows Restaurant Manager.
The Sports Grill is located in the very large building just north of Big Splash. On the south side of this structure, a bar area divides this large building into three sections: a simulcast racing section for those 18 and older (where guests can wager on tracks from all around the country and the globe), the bar, and the sports grill area for those of all ages. "Anyone can come to the south side" of this complex," said Hairs, "even families.
"We have four million visitors at Expo Square each year; and now with this Sport Grill, it is the place to be. There is a 'wow' factor when you walk in."
True that. With 10 jumbo screens measuring 8x14 feet apiece, it must be the largest collection of high def screens in Tulsa. A large open area has tables for dining and areas for simulcast betting. The bar has at least 20 TVs, with live racing in progress broadcast from such places as Will Rogers Downs and Indiana Downs.
Besides horse racing, "this is a great place to be for college and NFL games," said Hairs. "We offer a very affordable menu, including a happy hour every day and daily food specials."
These daily specials are priced at $7 and include Taco Salad on Mondays, Pork Fritter Sandwich on Tuesdays, Meatloaf on Wednesdays, Lasagna on Thursdays, Chicken Fried Steak on Fridays, Smoked Brisket on Saturdays and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce on Sundays. Hairs said that all are made from scratch daily.
Hairs said that they have a basic grill menu, describing it as more on the "comfort food" style--saying it is a limited menu, but doing well what they do. What Sports Grill offers is items from the Starting Gate!, the Home Stretch! and the Finish Line! Drinks include sodas, juices, coffee, bottled beers (domestic, imported/premium, $2.75), buckets, draws, and premium drinks and snacks (chips and salsa, peanuts, candy, chips, popcorn).
Four selections are available from the Starting Gate: Beef or Chicken Nachos ($7), Buffalo Wings ($7), Chicken Quesadilla ($6) and Loaded Cheese Fries ($5.25). My friends and I began with the Buffalo Wings and the Cheese Fries.
The Wings, according to Hairs, are made fresh to order and the hot sauce is made in-house. He said it is a little spicier than some, but we did find that it lives up to that claim, taking us by surprise. It had a good spicy kick, as a hot wing should be. These wings were lightly coated with flour and fried very crispy. Bleu cheese dressing accompanied.
The Cheese Fries was a large order topped with melted shredded cheese, bacon bits and chopped chives. These were a little disappointing, especially for those of us who enjoy lots of hot, melted cheese on fries. This version was generous on the fries and conservative with the cheddar cheese.
Off the Home Stretch! menu, we ordered the Hamburger Steak Dinner ($7), Chicken Tender Basket ($7), Juicy Pig Sandwich Basket ($6), Burger Basket ($6), and Caesar Salad ($6).
Hairs said the Hamburger Steak dinner is "a big seller," and I can see why. This large hamburger steak has grilled-in onions and comes with fries, garlic toast and homemade cole slaw. The meat was rich with flavor and grilled to the medium rare specification. It was simple, with no frills yet the patty was well executed for what it was. The cole slaw was fresh and crisp, a dry rather than creamy version of this classic side.
The Chicken Tender Basket was three large, heavily breaded chicken tenders served with fries, garlic toast and white cream gravy. Hairs said the tenders are purchased from a vendor and not homemade. They were good but definitely had the vendor style about them--uniform in size, breading was basic, and the chicken nicely tender. The gravy was creamy and basic, not homemade.
The Juicy Pig Sandwich Basket, labeled a "Jockey Favorite" was a good choice. The pulled pork was plentiful between the large toasted bun; the pork was tender and the sauce was mild with a slightly smoky accent. Cole slaw came with this sandwich.
Hairs recommended the Burger Basket, a 1/3 pound patty dressed to order with either American, Swiss, Cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese. Like the Hamburger Steak, the meat was tender and rich in flavor. The Caesar Salad was good, but nothing too special. Romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese and packaged Caesar dressing was all it was.
The Finish Line desserts are something Hairs is very proud of. Homemade pies include: banana, coconut, peanut butter, butterscotch and others are specialties of the house ($3.50 per slice).
"We look to ourselves as a mom and pop place," Hairs said. "In addition, we host a lot of parties here, with private rooms for up to 100 and 150 people, plus multiple smaller rooms for the smaller venues." They offer Wii on the big screen, having recently hosting a Wii duck hunting group event. "It's an environment unlike any other in town."
Fair Meadows Sports Grill
4705 E. 21st St.
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